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Do Stretches For Sciatica Work?


Yes, stretches for sciatica work but only when muscle spasms are released first! Most people have been told to stretch tight muscles but they haven’t been told that muscle spasms (trigger points) shorten the fibers and tie the muscles in tiny micro knots.

This analogy helps explain how muscle spasms cause pain.

Consider what happens if you have two trees, a big strong one and one that easily moves.  Tie a rope straight across from tree to tree.  If you pull on the rope it’s easy to see that the flexible tree bends.

However, if you tie several knots in the rope the flexible tree leans over toward the strong tree.

  Now if you try to stretch the rope to make the flexible tree stand up straight the knots put a strain on the points where the rope is tied.

Trying to stretch the rope causes the knots to tighten and overstretches the rope on either side of the knot.

This is what happens with your muscles. 

In the case of sciatica, the muscle that crosses over your sciatic nerve is the piriformis.  When the piriformis is shortened by a muscle spasm it places a downward pressure on the sciatic nerve, impinging the nerve.  This gets complicated because other muscles cause your pelvis to rotate and press the bone up into your sciatic nerve.

If you try to stretch the piriformis muscle it causes the tight muscle to press down onto the sciatic nerve, and can potentially tear the muscle.

Release the Muscle Knots Before Stretching for Sciatica:

Before stretching,it’s easy and essential to release the muscle that causes sciatica pain.

Lie on the floor, place the Trigger Point Therapy Ball, or a new tennis ball, onto the piriformis muscles (pictured left).

Ease onto the ball until it doesn’t hurt.  Then move the ball just a bit to search for other tender points.  Hold 30-60 seconds on each tender point to release the muscle knots.

Now You are Ready to do the Stretches for Sciatica!

This seated spinal twist is a great stretch for sciatica.

Make sure you are seated tall and exhale as you twist.  Hold for a minute and switch sides.

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